The first few dates with someone can be some of the most agonizing moments in your adult life. Between battling the butterflies, trying to make a good impression, and road testing the new shoes that were too cute to pass up but hurt like hell, your awkward-factor is so high that you’re basically catapulted back to middle school. Part of succeeding is hoping for the best, but being prepared for the worst. To help you out here are four common dating fails, and ways to avoid them at all costs:
Dating Fail #1: “ME TOO!”
We all love meeting someone we have a ton in common with, but common interests do not a love connection make. If there’s someone across the table from you who is rambling off a laundry list of interests you don’t care that much about don’t reply with, “OMG, me too!”
It’s tempting to fib about your interests because common interests are a great way to fuel a first date. But admitting your white lies is a great way to bring a fifth date to a screeching halt, so don’t do it.
If after your first couple dates, you find that you don’t have much in common, but you’re still REALLY into the person you’re seeing, take the opportunity to learn. Ask questions and challenge the other person to try a few things you’re into. The process of searching for common ground can be enlightening, and actually really fun. (If people were content being with someone exactly like them, no one would be in relationships, and this website wouldn’t get any traffic.)
Dating Fail #2: Blank Slate Syndrome
Okay when it comes down to it, the first few dates are a LOT like the job interview process. And we’ve all been in the position where someone asks us what some of our interests are outside of our job, and we can’t think of a damn thing we do outside of watching bad reality TV.
Beautiful people make everyone nervous and there is nothing more harrowing than a person with a dreamy face asking what you’re into and you sitting there frozen like a Barbie doll. What do I do!? I know I do things! What are they!?
It’s a slippery slope. If you blank, you start to doubt you’re interesting at all. And that’s just not true; you’re totally great.
Much like a job interview, if you’re not feeling very confident, you can come up with some stock answers pre-date, as long as they’re genuine. If you don’t think the things you’re into make for good conversation, or you blank on the spot, bring up something you’re interested in learning about. “So, what do you do for fun?” “I’ve been dying to learn how to roll sushi, but I haven’t found a class.” See? It’s not so hard!
Dating Fail #3: Leaning on the Crutch
Often times, when we meet someone and find out that we’re interested in them, it happens in a setting that takes the social pressure off of us. A couple examples include meeting up at a bar and letting a couple drinks loosen you up, or only hanging out with a group of friends so that all the attention doesn’t fall solely on you. It’s a great way to meet someone and feel like you can be yourself, but eventually, if it’s going to get real, you have to get to know each other one-on-one.
Leaning on the crutch means never stepping out of that comfort zone, and therefore not getting to know someone (or letting them get to know you) on a deeper level. If every date you’ve been on starts on the Tequila train, you’ll have lots of fun, but won’t build a connection past knowing your date’s favorite chasers.
If you’re afraid there won’t be enough of a spark between you two when you don’t have the relief of a group of friends, or when you’re not spending your time together staring silently at a movie screen, or when you don’t have Captain Morgan as a chaperone, take some baby steps. If you start out with a crew, ask the person you’re into to hang at the bar with you and help you pick out a cocktail so you get some alone time. If you’re dating someone and you’re constantly meeting up for happy hours, invite them to a food and wine pairing so you two can converse about what you’re learning and see what you look like in the daylight.
Dating Fail #4: Planning the Wedding
It’s been three dates and you’re really into your person. And that’s great. But if they’re not on their knees kissing your feet and sending you flowers every day, it’s very important to pace yourself.
Dating has this weird way of turning us all into crazy love detectives. Getting a text message now involves assembling a panel of our closest friends and discussing meaning, implied meaning, reading between the lines, surveying the audience, and writing an 80-page dissertation on the social implications of the winky face emoticon (he didn’t use the emoji, what does that mean!?)
It’s hard not to get carried away, but the best thing to do is have patience and mirror the amount of attention the person gives you. What do you do with all that other time and attention? Do NOT plan the wedding. Don’t wait around for the call or the text. Don’t turn down plans in hopes that they’ll ask you out. Instead, do awesome things with fun people. Make the most of your time, because you’re a fun person and ANYONE who manages to carve out some time with you is very lucky. Also, Instagram all the fun stuff so the person you’re into can see. Knowing that you’re not waiting around for them sends the message that you’re not at home moping, which takes the pressure off of both of you AND makes you a hot commodity. Live your best life, and the right person will hop on board.
Whether you’ve made one, or all of these mistakes, (like me, how do you think I wrote this?) just know that dating mishaps are a part of life, and for every seemingly mortifying misstep you’ve got on the books, someone out there is calling out the wrong name during sex, or tucking their dress into their underwear, or misjudging their limit of vodka martinis and throwing up out the window of an Uber. The truth is, none of these have to be a deal-breaker, and when you find the right person, they’ll be by your side through it all!